Successful mission for Operational Coordination Centre Provincial advisors
6 December 2013
A senior Australian advisor from Combined Team Uruzgan (CTU) has confirmed Afghan National Security Forces are ready to conduct independent operations.
Lieutenant Colonel Paul Duncan, Senior Advisor Operational Coordination Centre Provincial - Uruzgan (OCC-P), said his team’s mission to empower, coach and advise the Afghan personnel within the unit had been very effective.
“The OCC-P is assessed as being independent in their capability to plan and monitor interagency operations across Uruzgan province,” he said.
“They have been conducting deliberate independent operations, which are planned months in advance, as well as immediate operations providing security across the province, such as their response to short notice security threats.
“In recent months the Afghan National Security Forces’ focus was on providing successful security for voter registration and planning for the upcoming 2014 elections.”
Officers from the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and the National Directorate of Security synchronised interagency cooperation across Uruzgan province from the OCC-P.
Australian advisors from CTU transitioned from the role of direct mentoring to being on hand to provide advice and liaison to the Afghan National Security Forces.
Lieutenant Colonel Duncan said immediate bonds were formed between the Afghans and the OCC-P upon arrival in Uruzgan, as had occurred with previous teams.
“Over time these bonds became friendships and, while it’s hard to say goodbye, my team is also excited to be going home to their families,” he said.
The advisors within the OCC-P have emphasised what was being done right in order to give the Afghans confidence in their success and set the conditions for the provincial leaders to maintain their high opinion of the agency.
As well as Lieutenant Colonel Duncan’s leadership role, the eight-man team provided advice to the OCC-P on all functional areas of the Afghan National Security Forces, including personnel and logistics, intelligence, operations, planning and coordination.
“In Australia there are not many situations where the ADF, police and intelligence agencies work together so closely. However, the OCC-P would be similar to our response to disaster relief or major domestic operations,” he said.
“Only in this case there is an active enemy.
“We are at the end of a long mentoring and advisory effort provided by Dutch, United States, Slovak and Australian personnel, so it would be arrogant of us to presume we have some great ideas that haven’t already been tried by coalition forces.
“The Afghan security forces don’t plan operations in the same way a western military force would, but it works for them, and most importantly, it’s able to be sustained when we leave.”
Lieutenant Colonel Duncan said that at the end of this fighting season Afghan National Security Forces operations in Uruzgan province had successfully denied insurgents access to key areas of the province.
“While the Afghan National Security Forces at the OCC-P are expecting a drop in operational tempo over the winter months, they have no illusions. They will be facing a staunch and motivated enemy again in next year’s fighting season as the Taliban attempt to disrupt the 2014 electoral process.
“The Afghan National Security Forces are very capable of independent operations; however it is important to note the legacy we leave in Uruzgan. We have provided the Afghans with the ability to decide their own future.
“We can’t guarantee anything, but we have given them the skills, knowledge and procedures to be successful.”